Trump, Congress Could Halt State Action On Climate


Publish Date:
January 9, 2017
  • Upton, John
Climate Central
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The head of the city department that drafts many of San Francisco’s greenest rules and regulations uses one word to explain her greatest fear for the environment during Trump’s presidency: “preemption.”

If some of the deepest concerns of climate-focused bureaucrats from San Francisco to Massachusetts and New York come true, the Trump administration will preemptively prevent them from acting to slow global warming.

Michael Wara, an energy and environment expert at Stanford Law School, said the federal government could go further than car standards and try to revoke the rights of states to limit heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution billowed by power plants. It could also jeopardize “anything that smells like foreign policy” by states, Wara said, including linkages between a carbon pricing system operated jointly by California and Quebec.

“Anything that looks and feels like a treaty — that creates binding obligations on both sides — is going to face increased judicial scrutiny,” Wara said. “Here, if there is any conflict, the state loses.”

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